Tuesday’s storm destroyed southeast Liberty County home

The home of Shane and Keili Paschal near Nome was destroyed by a tornado in Tuesday's major storm.

A Liberty County family is grateful to be alive after Tuesday’s powerful storm dropped a tornado directly on their home, ripping off the roof, destroying barns and outbuildings, overturning trailers and blowing out windows on several vehicles.

“It looks like a bomb went off. It’s complete devastation,” said Liberty County Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller, surveying the damage on Thursday.

Cecile Paschal, the matriarch of the family, told Bluebonnet News that her daughter-in-law, Keili Paschal, two grandchildren, and the child of Keili’s brother were all huddled in the home when tornado warnings on their cell phones alerted them to the danger. Two children huddled in a bathroom while Keili and her son reportedly sought safety in a hallway. Cecile’s husband, Chuck, and three of their employees, were in a barn near the home when the tornado touched down.

Fortunately, the storm spared every living creature on the Paschal’s property, including two cow dogs in the barn and horses in the field.

“We are blessed. It gives me chill bumps all over just thinking about it. Knowing we are blessed is what makes this tolerable. I know I could have lost my people – my daughter-in-law, two grandchildren and a husband – all at once,” she said.

Looking around the property, Cecile pointed to an area behind her son’s home where a porte-cochère once stood.

“It’s all gone. The tornado lifted it up and destroyed it,” she said.

Despite the utter devastation, Cecile realizes it could have been much worse. The tornado completely missed a mobile home where Keili’s brother and his family lives and spared another family member’s home on the other side.

“Rather than hitting that home or the other one, it hit this one,” she said, gesturing to her son Shane and Keili’s home, “and it was the one that could handle it. We are a faithful people, and we know God has a plan. I don’t know what people do without faith.”

The Paschals are insured, which should cover some losses. Hergemueller also is trying to connect the family to the American Red Cross and is reporting the damage to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM).

In the 24 hours after the storm, county officials initially believed that Liberty County was unscathed by the storm. They were alerted to the Paschal home Wednesday afternoon after a Bluebonnet News reader passed on information, which, in turn, was shared with county officials.

“It’s unbelievable that we didn’t know about this before now. The National Weather Service did not detect this in Liberty County, I suppose because it’s so close to the county line. We even made notifications to all the fire chiefs in the county that night, and we were told that there were some downed powerlines and such, but this is definitely devastating damage,” Hergemueller said. “County Judge Jay Knight is aware of the damage and he has been in touch with TDEM. They are putting together a possible declaration for this storm due to the amount of damage. We are hoping to tie it to the storm that came through and caused damage in the Houston area, which might help this family in the long run.”

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